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Raal Ribbon Headphones - SRH1A

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by once, Oct 7, 2018.
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  1. exdmd
    There was a mini-meet at The Source AV Design last Saturday where Schiit demoed the prototype "Weldenheim" direct drive amp for the SR1a's in a Jotunheim chassis more details at the Raal thread at forum.headphones.com. The Weldenheim was well received and it looks like Schiit may be doing a collaboration with RAAL-requisite to sell it when ready. Price may be around $1400 if it makes it to market.

    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  2. Zhanming057
    Is this Stefan? He has a Linn system that works pretty well with the SR1a.

    My experience is that the SR1a can reach loads well exceeding 40w under normal listening volumes so no, the 845 will not work. If you want to run a tube amp, KT88/120 is the only real practical choice.
    Zan.Tiago likes this.
  3. TSAVAlan
    Here is the text on top of the unit. Pretty swell sounding amp/dac combo if I do say so myself. Traded blows quite well with some much more expensive 2 channel amps.
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com./pages/The-Source-AV-Design-Group/153623164648713 http://www.twitter.com/TheSourceAV http://www.instagram.com/Thesourceavdesign http://thesourceav.com/ Products@TheSourceAV.com
  4. Jozurr
    The pass labs amps like the X150.5/8 or X250.5/8 are excellent amps and have some the magic most people look for when they want a tube sound. The J2 is closest to the tubes that I've come from a SS amplifier, but the J2 doesn't have enough power for the SR1a. The X250.5 I have is an excellent amplifier that has some of the tube sound magic, and has power high enough to drive and control the RAAL's beautifully. I'd highly recommend them.
    llamaluv likes this.
    This would become a must-buy for cheap skates like me.
    FLTWS and Zan.Tiago like this.
  6. dieslemat
    I understand that this is just proto but do you have pics of the back input?

    1.4k with the dac? It cost the same as 2 vidars
    Zan.Tiago likes this.
  7. exdmd
    That's probably intentional as using two Vidars in mono-block mode is one of the preferred budget amp choices for the SR1a.
    Zan.Tiago likes this.
  8. dieslemat
    In a way, that does makes sense. I failed to account for the additional price of a preamp. If the Jotunheim R sounds better than 2x Vidar/Aegir then the 1.4K price is a steal.

    What's your impression of the prototype?
  9. TSAVAlan
    I thought about snapping a pic of the back of the unit but didn't most because it was looking like a standard Jot with the dac module. So the XLR in/out, RCA in/out, USB in, standard IEC, and the power switch.

    The prototype amp sounded fantastic to me and we had overwhelmingly positive responses from attendees which was cool.
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com./pages/The-Source-AV-Design-Group/153623164648713 http://www.twitter.com/TheSourceAV http://www.instagram.com/Thesourceavdesign http://thesourceav.com/ Products@TheSourceAV.com
    Zhanming057, dieslemat and Darthpool like this.
  10. simorag
    In the context of a private listening session at headphoneauditions.nl (great experience btw, well worth the trip to Amsterdam and the cost of the service), I had the chance of trying the SR1a and doing some direct comparisons with my current Abyss Phi TC setup (see signature), which I was able to replicate at the shop.

    The amplifiers I was able to pair to the SR1a were the Chord Etude (100W/8Ohm) and the Thrax Enyo, a dual mono class A tube integrated with 50W/8Ohm output rating.


    I would say the SR1a are an 'experience' of their own, and their trademark definition as Earfield Monitor is a really appropriate one.
    Since the very first few seconds after wearing / listening to them you get this unique mix of headphone and near-field speaker feeling which I enjoyed very much, both in terms of comfort and fit and as a way to obtain a large and diffused headstage.

    The most striking trait of the SR1a to me was their extreme micro-detail resolution capability, significantly exceeding any headphone I have ever heard, including the AB-1266 Phi TC. I would define this more as a 'technical feature' than a 'benefit', because (over)exposing microdetails is - to me - satisfying in the short term (the wow! effect) and as an analytical tool - like in a studio editing session, but not necessarily something that gets me closer to the reproduction of the live perception of the music.

    I was impressed by the SR1a speed (especially with the Etude) and the sense of air between the notes and between the instruments.

    In terms of timbre, I liked the midrange and treble most of all - while on the leaner side (better with the Thrax). The vocals, both male and female, were presented in a very realistic fashion and with no traces of sibilance and harshness which are sometimes a by-product of headphones with high detail retrieval and airiness. Abyss TC vocals sound, in direct comparison, a bit rougher and less 'real'.

    As for the bass, the SR1a are not bass light in asbolute terms, and both the quality and quantity of their bass were above my expectations. However, I must admit that I missed a lot the sense of physical satisfaction - even euphoria at times - the Abyss are able to deliver through their deep, fat but fast and resolved lowest end.

    By adjusting the earpieces I could manage to tune the balance between bass extension / impact and soundstage extension / imaging focus, but some tracks (organ, of course, but also some vocals with deep double-bass plucks) were simply not enjoyable to my ears with the SR1a after hearing them on the Phi TC.
    Headstage, imaging, instrument separation were very good as well, but I preferred the Phi TC more cohesive and deeper staging. I had the feeling that the SR1a tend to present the music in an hyper-realistic, even mechanical fashion at times, which is somehow a different experience from what I get in a real concert venue, which the TC mimics closer IMO.

    Among the two amps I tried, tonally I preferred the Enyo warmer / darker signature compared with the Etude, whereas the Etude won in terms of speed and bass impact. I was relatively surprised that the Enyo - rated 'only' 50W - was able to drive the SR1a well above my typical listening levels (80-85dB), with no feeling of being strained.

    Overall, I really appreciated the SR1a and I am quite sure that with some more time with them (allowing better brain and mechanical adjustment) and perhaps with a further optimization of the amp pairing they could shine even brighter. That said, as I realize I am biased towards the Phi TC, I would not see the SR1a as a replacement to the Abyss, more likely as a complement to enjoy a different / unique way to experience listening to music through headphones (or Earfield Monitors :)).
  11. Zhanming057
    @protoss Yes, I'm thinning down my audio setup to fit inside a carryon. That means the Mysphere with one portable amp+dac, the SP1000 and a couple IEMs. Everything else is up for sale until traveling subsides.
  12. protoss
    @Zhanming057 Nobody cares about the Mysphere. And protable amp/dacs.

    We cared about the exaggeration on the Sr1a from you, Mr. Dealer. Especially you of all people.
    You understand.
  13. Thenewguy007
    Pretty damn sure there are a few dozen other people who confirmed his impressions.
    Zan.Tiago and Zhanming057 like this.
  14. Zhanming057
    What? First of all, I am not profiting from this sale - I got a discount, and I'm passing it along. The rules stipulate that I am to not profit off item sales, and I made a point to price it below what I paid for. People here know what I paid for them because I helped them get the exact same deal. Not a lot less, sure, but I also threw in extras that I bought, with cash. I will buy them again at some point next year, and when that happens I won't ask for a better discount. Because I seriously don't care about a few hundred bucks in each direction, and I'm grateful for getting early exposure on the SR1a's.

    I stand by my review comments, and I don't think that selling gear that's not being used says anything about what I'm selling. If there is a battery powered amp that could drive the SR1a's, I'd keep them.

    On that note, I can get trade in pricing for Spectral but if you want to make an offer on the Spectral stack , that's also up for sale and I can get a Spectral certified tech run an inspection before shipping anything out.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
    Zan.Tiago, prfallon69 and simorag like this.
  15. Zhanming057
    As I quote from my own ad:

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